I'm not a man and I'm not in the body of a man. But I do love men and observe them closely.
I've studied men, and, for reasons only my Soul knows (in other words, I'm not aware of all of them yet), I am here to be of service to men. (And women. And everyone in between. Of course.)
But men, and white male men, are suffering. They are. I happen to be born a woman amongst mostly white middle class men. It is said that these men are the most privileged, the ones with the most power. However, 7 out of 10 suicides in the US are committed by white males, mostly middle aged.
So, we're not getting it right. And here I find myself, advocating for the group that is supposedly the most privileged and the least wanting... because who is going to advocate for supposedly privileged white men? It's not emotionally safe for white men to advocate for themselves most of the time. If they do, can you imagine the backlash?
"You're the most privileged and yet you want more. Oh POOR you." For example.
When #metoo was happening, and a male friend was adamant that men should be included in that movement, himself having experienced sexual abuse at the hands of his father, I insisted he was wrong to say that men were being left out of that movement. Yes, be acknowledged, be uplifted, but not immediately upon a women's movement. My thinking at the time was that we needed to allow women to have that movement.
Maybe I was wrong. Because when are white men going to get a movement?
Right. They're not.
I love men and I have NOT had an easy life with men. I want to make that clear. I am not daddy's girl. That man is a blessing in my life but he's not easy. I have an ex-husband. After I got divorced, which was really something I felt needed to happen as I was walking back into reclaiming what had been lost of my own feminine and soulful nature, I spent a year alone. I was so traumatized in my body from a lifetime of held trauma, anxiety, nervousness, and lack of esteem that I went to Hakomi (somatic) therapy every week.
A year later, an old friend of mine saw how tattered I still was, and he extended to me that if I needed a safe space to "come back," he would be that. You could laugh at this - see it as a man saying he was willing to get laid - or you could see the healing gesture in this. That's what it was. I said yes, and through the way that man puts his hands on my body, meanwhile also of course holding a safe emotional space, I was able to realize safety in ways that my traumatized and fragile self never had.
Over the course of a year with him, in the hands of a man, I was able to heal.
I really want both men and women to hear me say this. When I opened to a man, who was present to my process, I learned a greater depth of me. So often we stay separated from other humans and true trust based on our previous traumas - and this happens even if we're married and functionally having sex with someone for years! True leaning in is another story.
Fast forward years later and here I am advocating for men. Why?
The suicide rates. Men tell me that they think of suicide more often than most people going about their ho-hum lives ever know that men are considering.
And I could go on about a million other ways that men are suffering, but today, this one really hit me:
Being someone who has personally learned that my body is central to my healing, as someone who can say #metoo and has a trauma history that made it difficult for me to be comfortable in my body for a long time, I don't think that we have made it safe for men to be in men's bodies either.
Generally speaking, we haven't made it safe for men to have wants, urges, anger, emotions, rage, sexual desires, silence, voice, or to utilize their own bodies in ways that express all of the above. I wonder what men have to say about this.
I was getting all of these Facebook requests over the last few months from men wishing me "love and light" and I started asking myself what in the world was going on. I do embodiment work and shadow work. I do deep archetypal work with men and hold space for them to explore their Sovereignty and masculinity. We don't find the archetypal masculine through love and light, so what is going on?
Because we don't have healthy cultural rites of passage for men, or elders who understand true masculinity to teach our younger boys, and because we have a culture that doesn't build men up but then tears them down for being who they are, it's not safe to be a man. It's not safe to be in a man's body. It's not safe to have wants and needs like those listed above (sex, rage, voice or no voice, etc).
I spent the last year in a relationship with a strong man. He looked like a Warrior. He was a Lover. He loved the mystery of the Magician. He desired the King. Our souls danced. Our bodies were like magnets in ways that I never knew bodies could be. We explored the depths of eros. And then, it got too real. (My words.) It got too real. There wasn't safety in eros, he seemed to realize. There wasn't predictability, and to stay with me would have been to allow himself into uncharted territory, and sometimes uncharted feels unsafe. And in his 48 years on this planet, he had set up a lot of safety.
He desired physicality. He desired the embodiment we experienced. I will say that in our relationship, embodiment was central. Being in the body was required and incredibly joyful. And yet it seemed to be too real, too much proof of something he couldn't turn himself fully over to, because to do so would have meant getting in touch with deeper parts of himself. I think the relationship was too much of an invitation for him to lose control, and loss of control felt unsafe. And in the end, he shut himself off to it, finally saying to me, "I choose to be a simple man of God."
And so I experienced this retreat, from safety found in the body, back to the safety and predictability of God, of "love and light" over human connection. And I'm no wild woman, so really what was offered in that relationship was simply Real.
I believe that culturally, we haven't made it acceptable for men to lose control, to be fully sensual, to want what they want, to know their bodies, to not fear their own desires. We haven't made it safe for men to express themselves, be angry, or simply want to get fucked, without also being a culture that shames men, tells them to put away their desires, and have it safely all under predictable control.
For example, my son is nine, and for years, his impulse is to play and pounce, and for years, he's been told to keep his hands to himself. It starts young.
And so instead we have a culture of men who take refuge in some god or spiritual practice, and we have a culture of high suicide rates among men. Or they turn to alcohol, or porn, or gaming, or other means of shutting themselves down. Surely, spirituality is preferred to all of the latter, and I still advocate that we look at the escapism inherent in all of it.
I want to invite men back into their bodies. Back into their truth. I believe in you. We need you, strong and embodied. Our boys need you to show them a new way. When you are embodied, you can access your truth, feel more resilient even while vulnerable, you can access these archetypes if you choose, and you know better how you want to conduct your whole self in the world. When you're embodied, you don't just want to fuck, you want to feel.
What could this look like for you? When do you feel strongest in your body? Is there a race you can train for, or a pick up sport you can join? How can you get into your body every day? I believe that there is possibility there.